A world renowned newspaper has selected Tanzania among 45 places for tourists to visit in 2012, saying: “Tanzania is coming into its own as an upscale safari destination”.
The New York Times said in its January 6 edition that Tanzania emerged number seven out of the 45 selected places to go in 2012.
Reacting to the revelation, the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) managing director, Dr Aloyce Nzuki, said yesterday that the selection of Tanzania among the 45 favourable destinations was a positive thing.
“We have strategies in place aimed at making Tanzania among the most favourable places to visit,” said Dr Nzuki, promising to give more details today. In its article, The New York Times quoted East African travel specialists, including Hippo Creek Safaris and Abercrombie & Kent, as saying that for the last several years, the number of tourists going to Tanzania has been edging up.
“But it wasn’t until several violent attacks on visitors to neighbouring Kenya that the numbers really took off, as Tanzania started to absorb skittish Kenya-bound safari seekers,” said the newspaper.
It said not that Tanzania is coasting along solely on Kenya’s troubles; it always had Mount Kilimanjaro, after all.
“And now other attractions are being discovered, too — places like Gibb’s Farm, a small lodge from which guests can hike to the Ngorongoro Crater area, a prime destination for big game viewing,” said the paper.
In addition, said The New York Times, the opening of exclusive safari reserves like the Singita Grumeti along the Serengeti plains and the upscale camps managed by Nomad Tanzania and Chem Chem are evidence that the country’s tourist infrastructure is becoming more sophisticated, perhaps even catching up to Kenya’s.
Apart from Tanzania, other African countries picked by The New York Times as a place to go in 2012 were Morocco that emerged number 26 and Uganda which emerged number 33.
Under its sub-title: Stability and sustainable tourism restore luster to Africa’s pearl, The New York Times said marred by the murderous regime of Idi Amin in the 1970s, Uganda remained largely off the typical African safari tour map.
“But after more than two decades of relative stability under President Yoweri Museveni, the country that Winston Churchill called the “pearl of Africa” is regaining some of its allure for tourists,” said the paper.
It added that while Uganda has not been without problems, including twin bombings in Kampala during the 2010 World Cup, some street clashes during political protests last year and a history of extreme antagonism toward gay people, it’s still considered one of the more stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper said the country is perhaps best known to tourists as the home of half of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, and this year there are more opportunities to spot the elusive creatures.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority recently added two gorilla families to the groups it tracks on tours in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a Unesco World Heritage site in southwest Uganda, said the paper.
The paper said beyond up-close gorilla encounters, Uganda is also the source of the Nile, boasts mountains that are among the highest in Africa — the Mountains of the Moon in Rwenzori Mountains National Park — and offers formidable white-water rapids for thrill seekers.
The paper ranked Panama number one place to visit in 2012, saying it has been 12 years since Panama regained control of its canal, and the country’s economy is booming.
“Cranes stalk the skyline of the capital, Panama City, where high-rises sprout one after the next and immigrants arrive daily from around the world,” said The New York Times.
By The Citizen Reporter: Monday, 09 January 2012 08:35
Dar es Salaam.